New Articles

Cities Most Dependent on Small Businesses


Cities Most Dependent on Small Businesses

Small business is often held up as a key driver of the U.S. economy, and for good reason.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 64 percent of net private-sector jobs created since 2005. Collectively, small enterprises employ around 60 million Americans, which represents nearly half of the private workforce in the U.S. Compared to larger firms, small businesses tend to be more nimble, which promotes competition and innovation in the economy. Additionally, small businesses help strengthen communities, and entrepreneurship is a common route through which immigrants assimilate into the social and economic life of the U.S.

But with fewer financial resources than larger firms, small businesses are especially vulnerable during economic downturns. Where large firms can more easily turn to banks or capital markets for an infusion of funding in tough times, small enterprises are more likely to respond by scaling back operations, letting go of employees, or closing altogether.

While the recession of 2008 and the slow recovery that followed were hard on all sectors of the economy, small businesses struggled even more than large firms. Thousands of small businesses failed in the wake of the recession. Many would-be small business owners decided not to take on the financial risk of starting a business during the weak economic recovery, and lenders proved more risk-averse in financing new businesses as well. As a result, industry concentration in large firms has increased over the last decade, and employment growth at large businesses has far outpaced that of small businesses over the same period.

Today, COVID-19 is creating more difficulties for small businesses. Some of the industry sectors that tend to be most densely populated with small firms have also been the sectors most affected by shifts in consumer behavior and government restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus. Notably, accommodation, food services, and retail businesses together employ nearly a quarter of all small business employees. But with more people staying at home, these firms—many of which have already been forced to close—face dire circumstances.

The continued success of small business matters more for some locations than others. Rural states in the Upper Plains, like Wyoming and Montana, and in New England, like Vermont, have a much higher share of small business employees in the workforce than other states. Because these areas tend to have few large employers, failures in the small business sector could create job shortages and prolonged economic hardship in these areas.

At the metro level, some of the areas most dependent on small businesses are in the aforementioned rural states, but other factors are at play as well. Some are Rust Belt communities where employment was formerly dominated by now-offshored manufacturing operations, leaving smaller businesses to generate most of the economic activity. Others have strong startup ecosystems that encourage entrepreneurs to create new firms.

To identify the locations most dependent on small businesses, researchers at Construction Coverage used U.S. Census data to find the percentage of employees in each metro employed at small businesses, defined as those firms having fewer than 500 employees.

Here are the large U.S. metropolitan areas most dependent on small businesses.

Metro Rank   Percentage of employees at small businesses  Total number of small business employees  Total number of small businesses   Percentage of total payroll paid by small businesses   Total small business payroll per employee  

Total large-firm payroll per employee

New Orleans-Metairie, LA     1      53.65% 265,378 23,960 49.26% $43,602 $51,989
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL     2      53.50% 1,184,791 167,326 48.27% $43,392 $53,498
Oklahoma City, OK     3      53.32% 269,939 28,210 48.62% $40,574 $48,974
Providence-Warwick, RI-MA     4      52.36% 333,667 33,162 47.72% $43,098 $51,898
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA     5      51.98% 4,356,853 499,998 41.10% $56,279 $87,294
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA     6      51.93% 2,764,749 313,657 46.12% $52,115 $65,764
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA     7      51.41% 538,511 55,667 41.79% $45,280 $66,725
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY     8      50.93% 245,969 21,132 46.54% $40,162 $47,880
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI     9      50.36% 253,133 19,092 48.50% $43,895 $47,283
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA     10      50.31% 1,090,428 104,849 37.81% $67,798 $112,911
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA     11      50.06% 634,069 69,216 42.59% $49,023 $66,233
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV     12      49.64% 1,327,443 116,882 45.11% $60,027 $71,999
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA     13      49.45% 367,438 38,300 41.78% $45,280 $61,702
Austin-Round Rock, TX     14      49.39% 413,394 40,661 42.47% $48,145 $63,651
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD     15      48.53% 573,447 52,387 42.56% $48,700 $61,994
United States     –      47.09% 60,556,081 5,976,761 40.32% $44,777 $58,996


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website:


How and Why Your Business Strategy Eats Your Business Culture for Breakfast

Global leaders across the globe have found that corporate strategy is critical to business success. Corporate strategy could be the most important component of success in the ever-changing business environment of today.

Executives evaluate the success of corporate strategy. Corporate strategy reflects the degree to which a company can expand and determine the right pathway to success. The key function of a corporate strategy is to help executives utilize it for goal achievement. In this context, corporate strategy is becoming the forefront of success in corporations worldwide. Success, therefore, is dependent upon how executives formulated their organization’s strategy. Corporate strategy has been a focal point of the executive span of control but has not been associated with leadership enough to make it an integral part of organizational success.

One outcome of corporate strategy is to connect knowledge with other companies that want to share successes and failures. Leaders can inspire organizational members to network with more successful competitors by sharing successes to build alliances and not only enhance competition but communicate best practices as a way of keeping the highest standard of operation in the industry. In doing this, leaders implement a corporate strategy to develop relationships with external environments to identify new opportunities that occur in an ever-changing hypercompetitive marketplace. Leaders, in fact, implement a corporate strategy to expand the growth opportunities available to organizations that may be challenging, but, important to close the gap between success and failure. This leads to converting acquired knowledge into organizational processes and activities to improve or discontinue processes that contribute to success.

Furthermore, executives focus on individuals as the major source of knowledge and show how follower’s ties together so that they can affect the sharing, storage, transfer, and apply knowledge within organizations. Executives, therefore, see these connections, and the related shared knowledge and memory, as central to the effectiveness of corporate culture. Executives know that corporate strategy through sharing individual knowledge around the organizations can positively contribute to building a strong corporate culture. Therefore, executives should build an atmosphere of trust and openness and use corporate strategy to convert individual knowledge into valuable resources for their organization to close the performance gap and help organizations prosper.

The key is for executives to inculcate corporate culture within organizations so that information can be found and used instantaneously. Corporate culture enables organizations to promote the depth and range of knowledge access and sharing within companies.

Corporate culture is enhanced by providing further opportunities and information sharing. Executives can enhance knowledge sharing by providing access to knowledge, and stimulate new ideas and knowledge generation, transfer an individual’s knowledge to other members and departments, and improve knowledge capturing, storing, and accumulating, aiming at achieving organizational goals.

Executives that employ corporate strategy can propel knowledge sharing in the company to generate more innovative ideas and solutions for new and demanding issues that come up constantly in our hypercompetitive economic environment. In doing this, executives can employ corporate strategy through implementing coaching and mentoring practices by sharing experiences gained by imitating, observing and practicing. Executives that use corporate strategy have found that it builds a strong corporate culture through facilitating knowledge sharing throughout all levels of the organization.

Corporate strategy focuses on defining and recognizing core knowledge areas, coordinating expert opinions, sharing organizational knowledge, and scanning for new knowledge to keep the quality of their products or services continuously improving. Corporate strategy, therefore, is an essential requirement of corporate culture by which knowledge is shared among people.

However, executives may lack the required corporate strategy to interact with other organizations or distrust sharing their knowledge. Executives are, therefore, clearly the right focal point for developing networking with environmental components by adopting corporate strategy to develop relationships and interactions. The key here is to inspire their organizations as a whole to develop networking with more effective enterprises through employing corporate strategy directed at connecting knowledge with other companies. Executives are finding that corporate strategy creates a shared understanding of problems which can develop an effective corporate culture that enhances the knowledge sharing process.

Through the corporate strategy, executives could build a climate inspiring followers to share their knowledge, and facilitate the knowledge sharing process. Thus, executives can apply corporate strategy to enhance knowledge sharing among human capital and stipulate knowledge to be shared around the organization and with other companies.

Global leaders can now see how they not only can directly support corporate strategy, but it can also cultivate an effective strategic decision-making process, which will enable corporate culture within organizations. Executives can also see that cultivating an effective strategic plan coupled with cultural issues requires developing leadership within organizations—not only at the higher echelons of the organization but at every level. Thus, in light of the increased pressures of the global workplace that inspires leaders to exert effective change at the organizational level, this article points out the vital importance of business leadership in reshaping an organization’s strategy to have access to higher performing culture within organizations. This article also suggests that corporate strategy and corporate culture constitute the foundation of a supportive workplace to improve business success and reduce operational risk.

Standing on the shoulders of scholars before us, I indicate that corporate strategy and corporate culture are major resources for business success and support the positive impact of these two vital factors on business success.


Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.